Leadership Allegany students toured Sunny Cove Farm in Alfred Station

Submitted by Leadership Allegany on Mon, 12/17/2012 - 13:52
Leadership Allegany students toured Sunny Cove Farm in Alfred Station

On September 6th, Leadership Allegany students toured Sunny Cove Farm in Alfred Station for Agriculture Day. Sunny Cove is an organic dairy farm run by long-time owner Jerry Snyder. The Snyders previously offered non-organic milk but receive twice the price for their organic product. The tour included the milk house, barn, and organic food store. During the tour, Snyder shared his farming story. As a young boy, Snyder did not want to farm, but now says "I love what I do." Helping run the farm has taught Snyder's children to be thinkers and entrepreneurs. Even his ten year old son has learned to raise and breed goats. Snyder explained the benefits of organic versus processed foods. Organic milk is healthier, he said. Pasteurization is primarily used to extend the milk's shelf life. Snyder explained that most people believe the purpose of pasteurization is to make the milk safer to drink. He said you can accomplish that by milking and feeding the cows correctly. He also explained that organic farmers often have a target on their backs. Although Snyder's food is perfectly safe, there are some who would like to eliminate the organic food industry. After the tour, the group attended a panel discussion featuring Chris Wilson from Wilson Farms, Amanda Khodorkovskaya from Living Acres Farm, Nicole Ayers from the Allegany County FSA office, and Bonnie Yox, who is known as "The Maple Lady." Students heard the panelist's stories and their insights into agriculture in Allegany County. They also talked about genetically modified seeds, labor laws, industry regulations, and financial challenges. Later some of the students commented that they were inspired by the presenters dedication and realized that while running an agriculture business can be extremely demanding and difficult, it is very rewarding. Leadership Allegany students participate in eight industry days throughout the program year including government, the judicial system, manufacturing, agriculture, economic development, education, human services and health care. *Article and photograph by Bethany Schoonover, Leadership Allegany Intern Picture: Amanda Khodorkovskaya of Living Acres Farm in Alfred Station shares the challenges and joys of running a Community Supported Agriculture. Amanda is a 2011 graduate of Leadership Allegany.

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